.

The Prince of Peace    

He braved each gouging lash and bruising blow
Till scourged and bludgeoned flesh was raw and torn—
Paraded in a crown of thorns to show
This phony King of Jews was ripe for scorn…
How could this meek, defeated wimp be born
Of Him who set the galaxies aglow?
__He suffered as they spat and hammered nails
__Through shivered bone to cheers and jeers and wails.

He bore the heft of sin within His heart—
The sin that pinned His wonder to the Cross—
The sin that rent the ebon skies apart,
Split rocks and shook the earth. He paid the cost
For every vile vice, for virtue lost,
For every damning deed dealt from the start.
__For victory over sin and over death,
__Our Savior gave His life, His very breath.

All this for us. All this for you and me.
His body and His blood bought us the gift
Of life forever in God’s company—
A place where peace and grace heal every rift,
The home of hope and trust and prayers that lift
The soul to truth and light and harmony.
__So, take God’s hand and let Him be your guide.
__Let Jesus’ sacrifice be justified.

.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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14 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    From one who has seen the recurring results of prayer and experienced the inexplicable, I humbly join you in your beautifully expressed poetic sentiments.
    Thanks, Susan and Happy Easter — better than a sermon!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dearest Sally, I am most grateful for your beautiful, heartwarming, encouraging comment. Mike and I wish you a blessed Easter… you are an inspiration to both of us. Thank you, my friend!

      Reply
  2. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, alongside Brian and James your words have made for a very special Easter just as the World seems to be going mad. Thank you again and best wishes to you and Mike.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Jeff. The state of our world makes Easter all the more significant this year. I hope you had a good one.

      Reply
  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    Thank you for this, Susan, and happy Easter! I thought the first verse was especially powerful, with its strong imagery, and the thoughts of the unbelievers, and their question: “How could this meek, defeated wimp be born / Of Him who set the galaxies aglow?” which is just how unbelievers would think; but I like the way you got inside their heads for this poem.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, I really appreciate your astute observation. Thank you very much. I hope you’re having a wonderful Easter.

      Reply
  4. Yael

    Happy Easter to all. That’s a beautiful poem for the occasion Susan and I sure enjoy reading it. Someone asked me recently what would happen if I woke up tomorrow with only the things for which I thanked God today. To say this was a sobering thought for me would be an understatement. I think it would be beneficial to re-read your poem throughout the year in order to stimulate a daily attitude of gratitude.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Yael, thank you very much for your wonderful and thought-provoking comment – if more of us adopted a daily attitude of gratitude, this world would be a humbler and happier place. Your wise advice has certainly hit home with me. We have so much to be grateful for. The world is blessed with abundant beauty and joy… if only we looked in the right direction. A very Happy Easter to you!

      Reply
  5. Christian

    What I don’t understand is “He bore the heft of sin within His heart”…?
    Our Lord did not possess any sin, ever! That’s why He was raised from the grave to prove that He lived the perfect life that we couldn’t live.
    I guess I’m missing something, could you please explain?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Christian, Jesus didn’t “possess” sin… he carried the burden of our sin. I was capturing that image in poetry. He bore the heft (carried the weight) of (our) sin. I hope that makes things clearer.

      Reply
  6. Brian Yapko

    Susan, I love this heartfelt, painful poem. I love the attention to detail you gave the form — in three parts and with a rhyme form of ababbacc — reptitions which immediately capture me and hammer home the images you present, tied up with couplets which provide great clarity of thought. There’s no confusing your devout subject matter, and you present it with clarity, compassion and beautiful phrasing. It’s a little bit shocking to hear you describe Jesus as “meek and defeated” because I never think of Him that way. But from the point of view of the Romans and the mob that was exactly true. When we regard this same scene from the viewpoint of both Heaven and history we know that it’s quite the opposite. And perhaps we get a tiny glimmer of what He meant when He said “the meek shall inherit the Earth.”

    A beautiful poem, Susan. I hope you and Mike had a happy Easter!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, thank you very much for this. I’m glad you spotted the lines that I wrestled with. I pondered over, “How could this meek, defeated wimp be born / Of Him who set the galaxies aglow?” I was channeling the Romans to get their blasphemous spite across, with the intent that the following stanzas would suitably shame all thoughts of defeat and wimpishness. I’ve given a lot of thought to truth and how it is ridiculed and shut down today… it seems the truth poses a threat to all those who prize power over honesty. This seemed all the more significant in the scriptures this Easter.

      Reply
  7. Margaret Coats

    Susan, as Cynthia has said, unbelief is expressed in the line containing “Him who set the galaxies aglow.” But there is also the disbelief of those who believe in God as Creator, but not in Jesus Christ as Redeemer. And the disbelief of liberals who may call themselves Christians, but who refuse to accept the Resurrection as real and overwhelmingly significant. The line is a lovely description of God as author of the universe.

    But the line that makes this poem unique is the last, “Let Jesus’ sacrifice be justified.” Justification for sinners is what Jesus merited overabundantly by His sacrifice. And He did it even more for love of His Father than for us. How can your reader, then, be so bold as to think he can justify the Sacrifice by his response? That happens in our own humble minds, seeing that a single sinner justified pleases God more than we can know. By adopting a humble human attitude here, you are able to create a line that justifies the whole poem in asking every reader to take further thought about Jesus and himself. It is very nicely done, thank you!

    Reply
  8. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Margaret, I’m so sorry I’m late in replying. I thoroughly appreciate your eye for the fine detail of this poem. I chose my words very carefully – the subject matter overwhelmed my humble heart. For me, mere words are not enough to describe the significance and sheer wonder of this mind blowing and miraculous event… but, I thought I’d try. I’m utterly thrilled I haven’t made a fool of myself, and you have picked up on my intent. Your comment means a lot. Thank you.

    Reply

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